Daniel Dennett's Most Useful Critical Thinking Tools - Deepstash

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Daniel Dennett's Most Useful Critical Thinking Tools

https://fs.blog/2016/07/dan-dannetts-thinking-tools/

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Daniel Dennett's Most Useful Critical Thinking Tools
We recently discussed some wonderful mental tools from the great Richard Feynman. Let's get some more good ones from another giant, Daniel Dennett. Dennett is one of the great thinkers in the world; he's been at the forefront of cognitive science and evolutionary science for over 50 years, trying to figure out how the mind works and why we believe the things we believe.

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Bruce Lee

“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.”

Bruce Lee

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Making mistakes

Mistakes are opportunities for learning and for creating something truly new.

And the trick for making good mistakes is not trying to hide them. Be honest with yourself and really know...

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Reductio ad absurdum

It's a mode of argumentation or a form of argument in which a proposition is disproven by following its implications logically to an absurd conclusion. 

Take an assertion and see if you ...

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A successful critical commentary

  1. Re-express your target’s position so clearly and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.
  2. List any points of agreement.
  3. Mention...

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Occam’s Razor

The main idea: Don't fabricate a complicated theory when you have a simpler one that handles a phenomenon just as well.

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Occam’s Broom

It describes the process in which inconvenient facts are whisked under the rug by intellectually dishonest champions of one theory or another.

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Jootsing

It stands for “jumping out of the system.”It can be applied to science, philosophy, and arts.

Being creative is not about searching for something new, but about making the novelty...

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The “Surely” Operator

Often the world “surely” is as good as a blinking light in locating a weak point in the argument.

Because it marks the very edge of what the author is actually sure about and hopes rea...

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How to criticize with kindness

  • Re-express your target’s position so fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way".
  • List any points of agreement (especially if they a...

Community Is Vital

Loneliness is not a problem in traditional societies. For 99% of human existence, we lived in small tribes. We were constantly surrounded by family and friends. 

Research links loneli...

"Mens sana in corpore sano"

Having a healthy body is essential to having a sound mind. Exercising is a habit that’s been shown to lead people to create other, often unrelated, good habits. Exercising is also a proven way to improve the rate of learning.

"Know Thyself"

Knowing yourself allows you to seize opportunities and make better decisions as well as know what you and others should expect from you and how to counteract your personal flaws.

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Critical thinkers need the knowledge first

Employers need critical thinkers, but they cannot find them.

Focussing on knowledge only in college does not seem to help. Neither does it help to only focus on intellectual and cognitive sk...

The focus of skills over knowledge

Considering the K-12 system, we see that the emphasis on skills over content has changed the curriculum. Students increasingly focus on learning skills, but they may not learn too much history or science.

Critical thinking is not enough on its own. It needs to be used to gain insight from studying meaningful subject matter, like history or economics or physics or chemistry.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a disciplined activity. It is not something we can acquire without intensive study and practice, nor can we isolate it from knowledge. Knowledge is foundational to provide the structure to do deep thinking.

Only with some background knowledge, can we apply the skills of critical thinking to problems and texts, understand the strengths and weaknesses of arguments, and offer creative solutions.